View Full Version : starter or battery diagnose?
06-30-2008, 12:14 PM
Here is my challenge. When I turn the key get a sort of clunk sound and no spark. Eventually after messing with the throttle a couple of times the boat will start but I am always holding my breath. My gauges all work, and the stereo works as well. Yesterday had a little differnt challenge as well in which makes me no not sure if it is starter or battery. along with the turn of the key and small clunk I had one occasion in which the engine fired but died. Did this 4 times in that the engine turned over would run for couple of seconds die and then fired up and ran fine, weird. So does it sound like starter, solenoid, or battery?
Thanks for your help.
07-01-2008, 05:49 AM
Make sure your cables are tight, to start with. Check @ the batt, the ground on the block, and the starter. If you have a multi-meter, it'll come in handy for checking voltage (you can look at the volt guage on the dash, also, 12v or a little better). Next, check that you altenator belt is tight.
A bad starter, after it gets hot will drag (turn the engine over slowly).
Hope this helps
07-01-2008, 06:54 PM
I will check those out. Thanks for your help with trouble shooting. Hoping it is that simple.
07-01-2008, 11:18 PM
Sounds a lot like dirty battery cables. Sometimes they can look OK but on closer inspection they really aren't. Might be worth a careful check -- cheap too.
07-02-2008, 07:36 AM
Even if it's the solenoid, not too expensive or hard to replace. You can have the starter bench tested at yer local Auto Parts place.
Like kane said battery post can look ok and not work correctly. They sell battery post cleaners at all autoparts stores. The little one that looks like a bullet and has a brush in it is OK but there are better ones that actually turn the old lead off the battery post and ream out the cable connector, these work great. Our old MasterCraft had to have this done to the battery every spring or she would just sit and click. This even after I replaced all battery cables and cleaned all connections and grounds with sandpaper.
07-03-2008, 07:50 PM
checked and cleaned the ground on motor, had battery tested at auto store, made sure battery posts are clean. Looked like just a tiny bit of corrosion on the starter positive cable so I will do that next. Everything looked real clean to begin with. Will let you know how it goes.
Thanks so far.
07-03-2008, 07:55 PM
Keep us posted.
07-03-2008, 07:57 PM
I wonder if someone let the started get wet?. Does yer bilge pump werk? Was the plug left in and it rained and water got up to the starter?
Just throwing out some ideas
07-04-2008, 01:56 PM
If you have a volt meter, you can also check the voltage at the battery while the engine is cranking. If the voltage drops below say 9 or 10 volts then your battery is probably the cause. If this is not a problem, then you can check the voltage at the connections to the starter, where the cables connect to it. If the battery voltage is good while starting, but the voltage at the starter is poor, then you have a connection issue. While checking the starter voltage I would put the negative lead on the starter body and the positive lead on the bolt of the solenoid. This would show you the actual voltage going into the soleniod (starter).
Of course, if you are not comfortable with multimeters and voltage I might not do this test, because crossing the wrong wires to the starter body could result in an interesting spark show...
07-07-2008, 02:24 PM
well I have got electriacal issues. after cleaning everything and checking i used my boat 3 days this weekend and while it did not start righ away...it did not take as many tries to start, could it be a bad positive cable? I touched nothing else and did all of my cleaning on Thursday, yesterday when i went to get intot he boat and turn on the blower there was nothing, tried the bilge, nothing, nav lights and tower lights, nothing. My entire panel is not working but the boat did start and the radio worked, very strange. Is there a main fuse somewhere? I need to search behind my panel. What are your thoughts on this?
07-09-2008, 11:03 PM
Update: I found the problem to the entire panel going dead. Seems that the circuit board had vibrated off, so that was just getting behind the dash and messing with things until I found the problem. Still having difficulty with starting. Although the boat is starting after a couple of attempts, seems that all tests are fine and all connections are tight. I am going to keep rolling with it and my next plan of attack is to remove the starter and take in to see if all is well. Thanks for all of your help thus far.
07-10-2008, 04:18 PM
When you turn the key and hear the "Clunk" sound I am assuming that it is coming from the engine compartment. That could be two things: One is the copper ring that is in the solenoid that creates the contact point for the electricity to go into the starter. This would be a very light beer can sounding tink. The other sound could be the Bendix in the starter coming out and engaging the flywheel (this will be a much heftier clunk like metal to metal) and the start motor simply can not spin due to worn stators. Most mechanics refer to this as the "bad spot" in the starter and it just depends on where the starter stops turning from the previous start as to whether or not it will work on the next starting. I hope that makes sense. Sometimes tapping the starter with a large object while holding the key turned will help it past this bad spot. On my Jeep, I had this problem and it turned out to be the bushing that accepted the Bendix fell out and the Bendix would wedge against the side of the starter and somteimes it would start and sometimes it would not.
I would start with replacing the solenoid if it is replaceable. If it is not the problem, then you have a spare for the new starter you will buy next.....
07-12-2008, 12:06 AM
Thanks I appreciate the help. It does make sense.
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